To approve changes to the Kent County Council local funding formula for schools and early years providers that is used to calculate school budgets and early years rates from 1 April 2023.
Delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Education & Skills and the Schools Funding Forum, to make any necessary changes to the Local Funding Formula rates as requested by the Department of Education.
Reason for the decision:
In response to the Government confirming the additional funding for schools, Kent County Council is set to receive approximately £23m in 2023-24 to increases in funding rates for primary and secondary school budgets. The Government has also indicated a further £15m for High Needs in 2023-24. We are awaiting confirmation of the funding available for Early Years Providers. This decision will confirm how this additional funding will be distributed to schools and early years providers in line with Government guidelines.
The Government has confirmed the Council continues to be responsible for operating a local funding formula for Kent maintained schools (and this formula is also used by the Education and Skills Funding Agency for calculating Kent academy budgets) during 2023-24 and legislation dictates that any changes to that formula is subject to an all school consultation which took place in November 2022 along with seeking views from the Schools Funding Forum. The consultation focuses on how we allocate any additional funding and a request to transfer a further 1% from the schools to the high needs block to support SEN Support services in schools (the latter is also subject to Secretary of State approval).
The Council is responsible for setting the funding formula rates for High Needs funded school places including mainstream top-up funding, specialist resource provisions, maintained and academy special schools, post 16 providers.
The Council is also responsible for setting the Early Years Local Funding Formula which is used for setting the rate paid to early years providers for the Free Entitlement Early Years Funding Rate and Free for Two Rate.
The options considered for setting the primary and secondary school budgets are outlined in the consultation document to schools. Proposed changes to the primary and secondary schools funding formula have been limited to avoid any excessive deviation from the National Funding Formula (NFF) used by Government to allocate school funding to local authorities for distribution to schools. This is in line with previous recommendations from both schools & the Schools Funding Forum who have supported the general principle that “our Local Funding Formula should move towards the NFF, but at the same time continue to utilise local flexibility to address areas of local concern”.
The options for the setting of High Needs funding formula rates and Early Years local funding formula rates will be considered once the Government confirms final allocations.
The decision is linked to achieving the objectives set out in Outcome 6: Opportunities for children and young people in Strategic Delivery Plan (2020-2023).
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: For Determination
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 10/01/2023
Decision due: Not before 8th Feb 2023 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Lead director: Sarah Hammond
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Karen Stone, CYPE Finance Business Partner Phone number: 03000 416733 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial implications: The costs of the new funding formula will be fully met from the Dedicated Schools Grant and will not be a cost to Council funding.
Legal implications: There are no legal implications, but the Council is required to set the schools budget in accordance with Education Act 2002 and the Conditions of DSG Grant 2023-24. School Budgets must be published by 28th February of each year and the Early Years funding rates must be published by 31st March for the forthcoming financial year.
Equalities implications: An equalities impact assessment has been completed and is included as part of the consultation documentation. There were no adverse impacts identified.